Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Like Christmas Cards, Better Late than Never: Christmas Blizzard Aftermath Pictures!

Should I be doing Panda shots on this stuff?

We had a three day, all Christmas blizzard that left 10 inches of snow. They were predicting up to 20, but it rained in the middle, instead. I would have preferred the extra 10 inches to the icy result. But it's best to take what you're given and make the best of it. I waited until the final day of the storm to go out for a bike ride. On the first leg over to my Chai-house, I was thinking this winter biking really shouldn't be for everyone. It was a bumpy, slippery, white knuckle ride. How slow can you go? Glad I was riding Frankie, the Dutch bike monster. He does slow very well.

Handle bars are for hanging stuff on.

After a warm and wonderful Chai, I ventured out to try and find some other rugged individualists riding their bikes. In the spirit of cooperation and not holding a grudge, I helped push three cars that were stuck in the snow. They all had to get their vehicles off the even numbered side of the street or risk getting towed for blocking the snow plows. What a pain having a car! I don't mind helping out. Chip some ice, shovel some snow and push. Kind of fun to pull up on a bike, park it with the double kickstand and offer to help. Plus, I got some ginger bread cookies from one woman.

After some treacherous neighborhood adventuring, I headed to where the cars aren't, the Midtown Greenway(not so green, right now). There I finally found some fellow iciclebicyclists! One thing that disappointed me, was that none of the cyclists I encountered(except one friend) was in anyway friendly. They just looked at you like you were bothering them. I'm thinking you should be happy to see other bikers on day with so few. Thinking about it later, I chalked it up to fact that they were just as unsure as I was on this days challenging surface, and couldn't break their concentration to acknowledge their kinfolk.

At least it was straight and car-free.

Back yard.

After meeting up with a friend for dinner, I made the return trip loaded down with groceries. This leg of the adventure was the easiest. I was starting to get the hang of it, but I also think the 3 bags of groceries increased the bikes stability. Nice to finish on a relaxed note after an intense day getting acquainted with my new environment.

Three days riding since, and I am gaining confidence on my new winter bike. Tonight, I was riding down the hill towards Loring Park and I noticed that the packed snow on the path had a glaze to it. Another cyclist had decided to walk their bike down instead of chancing it. I eased up, but continued down the hill looking for matte surfaces. Frankie didn't have any trouble with the ice glaze and rode it with ease. Of course confidence can lead to overconfidence, which can get you in to trouble, real quick. At the same time, every ride, I get to know my bike a little better. Frankie maybe tall, but he has been very stable compared to my old winter bike. He's not fast, but fast isn't what's called for.


Reuben said...

nice post. I'll keep my eye open for a bearded man on a Dutch bike this winter.

m e l i g r o s a said...

awesome!! I love seeing the icicle bicycle back in action ;-)
snow angels mode in progress

i got some postal mail here going out to the MSP, send me ur addy
bikesandthecity [at] gmail

cheers and to a great bikey 2010

Steven Vance said...

Maybe those unfriendly bicyclists were miserably cold. In inclement weather, I tend not to look at other people so I can concentrate on getting to my destination as quickly and safely as possible.

Doohickie said...

I was going to ask whether you had studded tires but then I saw the earlier post discussing them. If there is any chance of ice around here, I just don't ride. Of course in Texas, that's only a small handful of days every year.

Dottie said...

I think we've found a near-perfect way to bike all winter: studded tires and a heavy, slow Dutch bike :) Great pictures and story!

I feel more camaraderie toward other cyclists in the winter, since there are fewer of us. Usually they respond to greetings on the path, sometimes not.

spiderleggreen said...

Doo~ Truth be told, I didn't have to ride on ice, I wouldn't, but I HAVE to ride, so...

Van & Dot~ I don't want folks getting hurt saying hi, but for me it's a good practice to keep a smile on. Sometimes it's just the camaraderie thing. Like in the movie Ghost Dog, where the Wu-Tang Clan guys bow to Ghost Dog, saying his name and he bows back, when they pass each other on the street. Sometimes I just think "Ghost Dog!" and do a little bow when I pass. ;)

Sox said...

I'm seeing more cyclists out this winter. I'm not sure if it's because we had such a long fall, or if more people are becoming more confident.
I've see one woman (and I say woman only because of the way she moves. The helmet, goggles, face mask and bulky clothing make it hard to tell) a couple of times on a bridge over the Red.
I'm hoping that if enough people are on bikes, this city will work harder on bike paths that actually go someplace, or at least cleaning the edges of the major streets well.

spiderleggreen said...

Sox~ Dang, it's cold in Winnipeg right now. At -24F, you got us beat by 20 degrees. I wonder if my bike would peddle at that temp? At that temp you probably don't have any worries about sweating. The more clothes the merrier.

I do tend to see more guys in the winter, but have seen plenty of women in the last few weeks.